An agreement governing the distribution of the paper press over the period 2022-2026 to subscriber customers was signed Monday at the Ministry of Culture between the State, La Poste and the unions of press publishers. “This memorandum of understanding formalizes the reform of the postal transport of the press“, greeted the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot. These last years “press publishers have seen postal rates increase from year to year and the Post Office has seen its deficit on its press activity increase“.

The overhaul of the system, which had become necessary, had two objectives: to reduce recourse to La Poste, in particular for daily newspapers, in favor of carrier networks, and to stabilize postal rates for all press families. “We found that the press mail transport model was coming to the end of a cycle“, insisted Roselyne Bachelot.

Switch 80 million copies from postal to portage

The transport and distribution of the press, which are part of its public service missions, cost La Poste 296 million euros in 2020, compensated up to 96 million by the State. The State has also drawn the consequences of the very significant drop in mailed copies and therefore of the growing deficit that this represented for La Poste.

In 2008, 1.8 billion copies of newspapers were distributed by mail compared to 622 million in 2020, an average drop of 7.5% per year. The protocol therefore provides for a single fee schedule for all press titles with a moderate annual increase. Until now, certain categories of titles benefited from preferential postal rates.

This was the case, for example, for political and general information titles, which will now be entitled to aid per copy. It will be different depending on the copies posted and those ported, and will be calculated to encourage these titles to switch to porting.

The carrier networks will be regulated by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (Arcep) and an observatory of the quality of the distribution of the subscribed press will have to be created.

It’s a good deal“, welcomed Philippe Wahl, CEO of La Poste, for whom this will make it possible to entrust distribution in dense areas to carrier networks and to reserve “more rural and remote areasat La Poste. The activity should always be loss-making for his company at the level of 200 million euros per year, he estimated. The government aims to switch 80 million postal copies to portage by 2026.

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